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    Lotus Evora: she's coming down the line!

    Yes, the eagerly awaited moment has finally arrived and first production examples of the new Lotus Evora are working their way down the line, something we at Lotus-Central were privileged to witness recently. And what’s more, we are going to share it with you!

    The Evora marks a big step forward for Lotus, not just in terms of a move upmarket but also in the way that the car has been brought to build. For example, in days of old, pre-production cars would have lovingly been created in engineering workshops away from the production area, where little thought would often have been given to the practicalities and time taken to put the car together.

    This time, however, things have been different, with the pre-production cars being built-up in the main factory, allowing the production personnel to both learn about the new car and even have their input into the process. Now, the production line itself has been installed and cars are being built.

    That process begins with the arrival of the pre-assembled aluminium chassis from Lotus Lightweight Structures in Worcester – previously an independent supplier to Lotus but now owned by the company. An amusing statistic to put things into perspective is that the chassis weighs about the same as 1,700 drink cans!

    The process begins with the arrival of the pre-assembled aluminium chassis

    After being mounted on a spit-like trolley, the first action is for the VIN number to be stamped into the chassis. The chassis can then be rotated onto its side to allow the installation of the wiring harness, water pipes, handbrake and fuel tank.

    The chassis is rotated onto its side

    With that work completed, the chassis is now transferred to a four-wheel trolley, ready for the rear bulkhead to be fitted along with the gear linkage, pedal box and the rest of the plumbing. At this stage the pre-assembled rear sub-assembly (the engine, gearbox and suspension) arrives from elsewhere on the site and is bolted to the back of the car. That process is followed by attachment of the front module.

    The chassis is now transferred to a four-wheel trolley

    Meanwhile, the body panels have now arrived and are being fettled alongside the line. The trolley is locked into position in a bonding jig by means of the four small roller wheels you can see in the picture below. The bonding takes thirty minutes to go off and a further four minutes are required to get the car in and out of the jig. This one aspect of production effectively dictates the progress of the line.

    The trolley is locked into position in a bonding jig

    The windscreen-surround panel is the first thing to be fitted followed by the sills and rear side panel. Moving on, the roof panel is next to be fixed. You can now also see a clear view of the engine and rear suspension assembly in the second picture. The door panels have been built-up, apart from final trimming, at a station alongside the line and are now attached to the car.

    The windscreen-surround panel is the first thing to be fitted

    Followed by the sills and rear side panel

    The roof panel is next to be fixed

    Here you can see a clear view of the engine and rear suspension assembly

    With the central body structure now complete, the Evora has T-bars attached to the four hubs in preparation for transfer to a different trolley. The next step being to fill-up with fluids – engine and gearbox oil, brake fluid etc.

    The Evora has T-bars attached to the four hubs in preparation for transfer to a different trolley

    Progress continues with the sub-assembly and offering up of the front and rear clams and tailgate panel before moving on to the installation of the trim and airbags. Nearing the end of the line, one of the final actions is the fitment of wheels and tyres and headlights.

    Progress continues with the sub-assembly and offering up of the front and rear clams

    One of the final actions is the fitment of wheels and tyres and headlights

    Now, with the build process finished fuel is added and the car is taken to the rolling road. This process was adopted when the S2 Elise came into production and is used in preference to track testing in order to get consistency. The computerised system identifies the specific model by means of a barcode on the build sheet that has accompanied the car from the very start of build and runs it through a 15-minute test cycle, including brakes and gearbox, up to speeds of 70/80 mph. A printed-out checklist will then identify any errors.

    With the build process finished fuel is added and the car is taken to the rolling road

    Once that test has been completed, the car moves on to a water and airflow check. A simulated drive at 70mph in rain will soon highlight any leaks! Inspections will have been carried out at regular stages during build but a final inspection and rectification process will eliminate any problems, and around ten days after starting-out, the Evora should be ready for dispatch.

    Lotus have taken the initiative of inviting potential owners who have put a deposit down for an Evora to visit the factory, see the cars in build, talk to the people responsible for designing and building it, and maybe even get treated to a ride around the Hethel track. The reactions have been very positive and perhaps the last word should go one visitor who upon seeing the underside of the car, suggested it should be in an art gallery.

    [source:]
    John Elwin
    February 2009

    Photos: courtesy of Lotus Cars


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    Re: Lotus Evora: she's coming down the line!

    thanks.

     

    been waiting for the realease of this car for a while.

    certainly looks better finished than Elise.

    cant wait.


    Re: Lotus Evora: she's coming down the line!

    I can't get over the fact that this car has a Toyota engine. Is it stupid to not like this car only because the engine is the same engine in Toyota sedans, albeit with the ECU remapped?

     


     
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